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A challenging yet rewarding season for ski resorts in Idaho

Posted at 4:51 PM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 09:04:55-04

IDAHO — As the skiing and snowboarding season winds down, our mountain resorts reflect on what a challenging but rewarding season it has been navigating operating through a pandemic.

“Heading into this season we had no idea what to expect, but we put a lot of time into our safety plan,” April Whitney, Brundage Mountain Resort marketing and communications manager, said.

"Snowfall is about average, but it has come at really opportune times, so it has been very consistent. That's been great. We haven't had a lot of time without snowfall," Brad Wilson, Bogus Basin General Manager, said. "Visitation wise, it has been terrific, but it has just been really difficult to run a business during a pandemic."

For safety reasons, Bogus Basin had to limit ticket sales, resulting in a 3 million dollar loss in revenue this season.

But, Tamarack and Brundage both had a record year.

“Our skier visits were definitely up this year. As I mentioned, it was the best year that we have had at Tamarack since its opening in 2004,” said Tamarack Resort president Scott Turlington.

“We have a lot to celebrate," Whitney said. "We had really vibrant visitation from guests, and we saw more of the same folks making more repeat visits throughout the season.”

With limited capacity and closed indoor dining areas, they suffered most in food and beverage sales.

“So that definitely had an impact on our bottom line, but we feel very fortunate that we made up for it in other areas thanks to people showing up for repeat visits, and our season pass holders,” said Whitney.

Resorts and businesses near McCall also faced more challenges with Highway 55 closed during one of their busiest times of the year.

“It has definitely had an impact, not only on Tamarack but many of the businesses that rely on, especially during this critical time of the year during spring break," Turlington said. "A lot of spring breakers come to visit, so for us, we have seen a reduction in our guest's visits, including a lot of people who have lodging reservations.”

Through all the hardships this season brought, it's one that Idaho's ski resorts won't forget.

“I’m going to remember all the people that helped support us through this challenging year, and did what we asked them to do," Wilson said. "Like social distance, wear a mask when we couldn’t social distance, and I’m going to thank them for that for years to come.”

“As we went through a very unusual season to be able to look and see how much joy it was bringing to people at a time when a lot of things have been taking away it was really gratifying,” Whitney said.

Tamarack is scheduled to close winter operations Sunday, April 4. To buy tickets, click here.

Bogus Basin and Brundage are both set to wrap up the winter season April 11.

The resorts will then transition to their summer operations and activities.